Zuma: Mbeki is no expert on systems of government

President Jacob Zuma says it's “highly speculative” that ANC MPs will face intimidation if they vote in favour of a motion of no confidence in him.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma says it's “highly speculative” that African National Congress (ANC) MPs will face intimidation if they vote in favour of a motion of no confidence in him.

In papers filed with the Constitutional Court on Friday, Zuma says a court cannot stop a political party from taking disciplinary action against a member who violates a party constitution.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is asking the court to force a secret ballot in the motion against Zuma.

President Zuma says it's untrue that he's confusing his role as President of the ANC, with his role as the President of the country.

He also says the court does not need to take notice of opinions expressed by ANC MP Makhosi Khoza and former President Thabo Mbeki.

Both suggested MPs would struggle to exercise their conscience if the no confidence vote was not secret.

Zuma says their remarks are neither factual nor expert evidence.

He adds Mbeki is no expert on systems of government.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

President Zuma says factors that inform a decision by ratings agencies to downgrade a country’s credit status, has nothing to do with whether the president or government takes decisions lawfully or not.

It’s the contention of opposition parties that his recent Cabinet reshuffle had an economic impact on the country.

Zuma and Speaker Baleka Mbete both filed their arguments with the Constitutional Court on Friday, in a matter in which the UDM is calling for a secret ballot on a vote of no confidence in the President.

President Zuma says the UDM's application for a secret ballot, is at best a misconception of the Constitution and at worst, a self-serving interpretation thereof, and an abuse of process.

Mbete meanwhile says that the UDM’s argument that because a vote for the president takes place in secret, therefore so should one for his removal, is illogical.
She says the principle of a separation of powers, forbids the court from intervening in this matter.

‘BALEKA MBETE IS CONFLICTED’

Meanwhile, The UDM says it's in the interest of justice that it be allowed direct access to the Constitutional Court to argue for a secret ballot on a motion of no confidence in President Zuma.

The party filed its heads of argument on Friday afternoon, in line with a court directive, pleading for the matter to be heard urgently.

It wants the Constitutional Court to declare the decision by Mbete, refusing the UDM's request for a secret ballot, inconsistent with the Constitution.

The UDM says Mbete is “conflicted” and unable to differentiate between her roles of Parliamentary Speaker and ANC Chairperson.

It says if a secret ballot on a motion of no confidence in the president, which the Constitutional Court once described as a vital tool for democracy, is not allowed... the tool will be rendered “blunt, ineffective and pointless”.

The UDM says it has no issues with the Rules of the House, but rather the Speaker’s unlawful and unconstitutional interpretation thereof.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)